There are several options for your Roku that most people don’t know about. And some of them can help you tremendously.
- Roku app for your smartphone. If you don’t have it, GET IT! it has a keyboard so you don’t have to use the arrow keys to type and it has a voice search.
- If you have more than one Roku, the app will display them as their serial number. Unless you are REALLY good at remembering number, this can be a nightmare when you want to switch devices. Go to roku.com and log into your account. Then click where it says Hi (your name here). This will access your account. Scroll to the bottom of the page and all of your devices will be listed. At the right side of the screen, click on “RENAME.” Name your devices with the room they are in. Next time you open the Roku app, the devices will show up by name instead of serial number. Want to get the kids to turn off the TV? Open your app, switch to the Roku they are using and hit the HOME button.
- While you’re on the account page, notice the “ADD A CHANNEL” button. Most people are not aware that in addition to the hundreds of channels that Roku has in their channel store, there are hundreds more “Private” channels. Private channels are made up by individuals and put out for anyone to use. To access these channels, you need to know their code. To get the code, you can search Google for Roku private channels or go to http://mkvxstream.blogspot.com. Once you get the code, click the “ADD A CHANNEL” button and type it in the Channel Access Code box, then click Add Channel. The channel will be added to all of your Roku devices.
- Roku lists the channels you have in the order you add them. You can rearrange the channels on your home screen by pressing the * button when a channel you want to move is highlighted. That way, you can put the channels you use most frequently at the top for easy access.
- If you add a channel from one Roku and it isn’t showing up in the others, you can force the Roku to update by going to settings>update.
- If you have a wall mounted TV and there is nowhere to put your Roku, there is a mounting kit that will enable you to mount the Roku to the back of your TV. Don’t worry about the remote not working. Roku remotes are Bluetooth, not infrared. Therefore, they don’t need line of sight. If you are using the smartphone app, it uses your WiFi network.
- Many people complain about their Roku freezing and rebooting. Usually, this is caused by heat. Go to a local computer repair store and ask if they have any heat sinks. Heat sinks are what keep the processor cool in a computer. When computers die, often the techs will take out the heat sinks for scrap. Usually, if you ask they might give one to you, or charge a small amount, maybe $5. Put your Roku on top of that and it will be noticeably cooler within an hour.This is a heat sink:
Please note that this photo is upside down for use with a Roku. The fins should be facing down with the Roku on top.
If you have a Roku and haven’t gotten rid of your cable/satellite service yet, read my main page on how to get started.
How many times have you sat in front of your television with a cable or satellite connection and flipped through the guide until you realize you have gone through the guide twice and not found anything to watch? You’re paying for 200+ channels and you watch 20% of them, MAYBE.
When you switch to streaming, this does not happen. Mostly because that guide you’re used to doesn’t exist anymore. With services like Hulu and Netflix you create a list of shows you like to watch. Then you open the Hulu app and the shows you want to watch are in your watchlist with new episodes highlighted for you. Some of the services, like Hulu, do still have commercials. But, there are not as many and they don’t last as long.
At first, it seems challenging. Oonce you get used to it, however, watching TV with cable or satellite just seems ridiculous. You can never find anything. I now find myself getting frustrated when I go to someone’s house that still has cable or satellite and end up giving up on trying to find something to watch.
Have you ever wished your favorite show would have a “marathon?” So you could watch them all consecutively? That’s streaming. Have you ever heard about a show that has been on and you want to get caught up? That’s streaming.
Streaming television is not perfect. Is anything? There is still content that is not available. But, it is getting better every year. Networks are realizing that traditional methods of content delivery are fading and people are trending towards streaming services more and more every day. As this happens, providers will have to answer that call or be left behind.
There are several companies out there right now selling devices that promise to deliver anything and everything for free. From current television programs to new release movies. There are only a few ways to do this and none of them are legal. One of the ways to bring you this content for free is accessing torrent site. Torrent sites infringe on copyright laws and, therefore, are often pursued by law enforcement agencies. When their server sites are found and shutdown, they reopen elsewhere. With a different address. Rendering your device useless as it is still looking for the content at the old address. They may have a way to update this content on the device. In which case you are still able to stream. However, while you are streaming the content, you are downloading and uploading the content. Internet Service Providers (ISP), track uploads. When you have a high volume of uploads, it triggers a red flag and you may receive a warning from your ISP. If you continue this activity, you can be fined or even jailed!
So, while the prospect of streaming any content you want anytime you want for free may SOUND enticing, the end result may end up with you being ripped off, fined or jailed. It simply isn’t worth the risk.
You may be holding off from going with streaming TV because you think you will lose live local channels. Most people can install an antenna and get all of the local channels for free. And guess what, the picture quality is BETTER than cable or satellite. This is because of compression. You see, cable and satellite providers can’t send you the full HD quality picture that Over-the-air can. The full HD picture file size is simply too large. For big draw programs (like the superbowl) cable and satellite providers will up their bandwidth to allow for full HD quality. But normally, they just can’t afford to sacrifice that much bandwidth to one program. More than one person I have helped switch to a streaming/antenna set up has told me how amazed they were with the picture quality. So much that people thought it was a new TV.
Before you cancel your cable or satellite service, you need to find out if you will be able to stream TV. Check your bill from your Internet provider and see what speed you have. Netflix recommends 7mbps for streaming HD content. I recommend 10mbps. (I have 20mbps.) Then go to speedtest.net and make sure you are getting what you are paying for. Also, on your bill, make sure you have unlimited data. If you have any sort of data restrictions, streaming TV is NOT for you. If your speed is not up to par, contact your provider and find out if a faster speed is available and what the cost is. Know all of the costs before you make the leap!